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Psychadelic at times, this unusual and memorable movie version of Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" has some creative details, and although it is one of the more obscure versions of the story, it offers a distinctive look at a couple of its many interesting aspects. The style is deliberately murky, and it has not so much as an inter-title, so that you do need to know at least the basic plot in order to understand what is happening. Check out the Jean Epstein version, too (also 1928).
This movie is part of the collection: Sci-Fi / Horror
Producer: James Sibley Watson
Audio/Visual: silent, Black and white
Keywords: James Sibley Watson; Poe; surreal;
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Subject: usher is not in this
four hooves -
Subject: What's the big whupp?
Ain't nothing special...just a head scratcher is all. Looks like someone was playing around with the new camera they got for Christmas back in 1928 and decided to have a few drinks, test it out, and try to create a few special effects along the way. Once they burned through enough cognac and film to splice it together into a 12 minute and 49 second sequence, they got to work and added a then hip title to it.
I can't believe that this film isn't required viewing for all film students. I also can't believe its so obscure. This is a work of art. Probably the best example of German Expressionism that one can find.
I don't know which I liked better, the music or the video. I don't remember enough of Poe's story line but this is one awesome work of art. I loved it. I would give it 10 out of 5 stars.
Subject: Great movie
I like this version much more than the film by Jean Epstein (that is far too long and the music is a pain). If you have really something to say: make it short. It looks very European, or to be more precisely: like the ultimative German expressionistic Gothic novel!
Jake-the OTR Fanatic -
Subject: Verrrrrry Interesting....
I found it to be very interesting. A great deaprture from the normal film-making style of the 20's and 30's, and a wonderful piece of expressionism.
Fireball Steve Zodiac -
Subject: I dont know the Poe Story
But off hand some interesting things that are symbolistic come to mind. The sets are very M.C. Escher-esque, staircases to staircases, some conventional, some abstract, but I point out it's escher-esque becuase it's the House of Usher, and can't help wondering if there is a deliberate link via this pun calling us to that similarity of names. The story seems to start right off with the couple seperating, she seems to walk off into a dream. There are visions of stacked books. Purposefully stacked so as to give them a staircase look. This leads me to think we are symbollically referencing education as a staricase to higher power and elitism, which seems to be what he is all about. That somehow by having his elitism grow as his knowledge and power grows, this potential personal emotional downfall is allowed to take place, the seperation of 2 people in love, one can grow too fast for one's own good is the message, and it's the downfall of his dream girl to really be his that is scuttling his life. She wanders in her dream state most of the movie searching. He wanders after her, always a little too late, as if to say his increase of knowledge wasn't helping to bring her back, but send her further away. Nicely shot, double imaging which we don't see much anymore, alluding to dream state, soft black and white but everything is distinct thats important. It has a Black Orpheus feel to it. -From one who does not know the Poe storyline.
Subject: What a masterpiece!
This film is nothing less than a great work of art. Obviously influenced by expressionistic cinema (esp. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"), but also by modern abstract photography (esp. Man Ray, I'd say), this film comes like a weird but beautiful dream into your imagination. Great pictures, great cuts, great rhythm. Just the music sounds distorted and is a bit boring, anyway - I just shut it off and was happy. Enjoy!